Nightmare in My Diningroom

Nightmare Collage

With Halloween – and my 13th wedding anniversary! – fast approaching, I thought it was time to show you the anniversary present my husband and I gave to ourselves, from ourselves.  And as it turns out, ourselves has great taste in anniversary gifts!

Halloween 4

This is a fully functioning Nightmare Before Christmas cuckoo clock we purchased from The Bradford Exchange, an online collectibles dealer based out of Canada.  Bradford have a number of fantastic Nightmare Before Christmas collectibles, including a Christmas Town clock that has me seriously contemplating the utility of two chiming cuckoo clocks in an 850-square-foot space, but it’s this Halloween Town beauty that really captured my heart.  I love the dusky, heathered jewel tones of the clock (the grapey purples, the rusty oranges, the blackened turquoises) and despite my mother’s polite protestations (“Are you really sure you want this hanging in the diningroom where everyone who goes anywhere in your house can see it?”) I did indeed want it hanging in the diningroom where everyone who goes anywhere in my house can see it, because I love it!  Love the way Zero pops out of the little door at the top, love the vaguely rusty snippet of “This is Halloween” that cranks out at the top of every hour, love Boogie’s crew hanging off the acorns at the bottom.  It’s the perfect anniversary gift for our lucky 13th.

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Plus it also looks pretty darn fabulous with our Nightmare Before Christmas snow globe, a delightful wedding gift from friends that lives year-round on our sideboard, which you can see from this photo is totally crooked.  The sideboard, that is.  Or maybe the floor, or the chair rail molding, or, most likely, some horrid combination of all three.  It’s a Nightmare Before Leveling!

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The ceramic Jack-o-Lantern bags and spooky candelabras are strictly seasonal, although you can be forgiven for thinking otherwise, particularly when we’ve got paintings like these hanging on one wall year-round.  Mr. Finger Candy gave me these little wooden plaques one year as a birthday gift – they were painted by artist Kristin Tercek, although I think there’s a good deal of Burtonian inspiration at work here.  You can also add these paintings to the list of things my mom hates about our diningroom!  Oh man, she really hates them (said with a good natured, yet malevolent, sort of glee.)  I, of course, think they’re adorably messed up – my favourite is melancholy sushi girl.  I love her ebi bonnet.

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That also pretty well encompasses the totality of my Halloween decorating for this year, if you can call decorating just leaving out the things you already have (or have recently procured.)  I typically set up MY Halloween Town – once again, in the diningroom – but I had to put it in temporary storage that is not quite so accessible at the moment.  So in lieu of dealing with that insanity, I thought I’d go small and simple this year.

But I’ll always, always show off this manicure, because it remains one of the best ones I’ve ever done.  Everything works in this design; I’ve never done an update because there is nothing to update – it was perfect the first time around. 🙂

Nightmare Great Hand

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Fall Fun Series II: The Beginning

Fall Fun Series II Photo

Hello friends, and welcome to year two of the Fall Fun Series!  This year we’re kicking things off with a 15-question Fall tag as a bit of a getting-to-know-you (getting to know all about you!)  All you need to know about me is that I proposed the title Fall Fun Series II: The Revenge: This Time It’s Personal: In 3D! and no one took me seriously.  So All About Autumn it is!  Now onto the questions.

Have you ever participated in a Fall blogging series?  What are you most looking forward to this Fall?

Yes, I have, last year with the Fall Fun Series: Original Sauce.  And it was fun enough that I signed up to do it again this year!  And this Fall, I’m looking forward to celebrating my 13th wedding anniversary with this handsome fella. 🙂

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Crisp Fall mornings or cozy Fall nights?

Fall nights, although there’s always a zen-like calm that steals over me when I’m out in the still, slightly foggy morning air.  But Fall nights are the best.  I love leaving the windows open so I can smell my neighbours’ fires and the crunchy leaves that pile up in drifts beneath the windows.

When do you start decorating for Fall?

I actually don’t have many Fall decorations, as all of my autumn decorating power is tied up in my rather elaborate Halloween Town.  But I recently purchased some adorable pumpkin pieces and a few other autumnal accoutrements with a view to blogging – once they’ve fulfilled that purpose, I think they’ll look pretty fantastic decorating my diningroom.

What is your favourite store to visit for Fall goodies?  Share the link!

Always Marie Antoinette in Ottawa, Ontario.  It’s the most beautifully decorated and stocked store I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting.

If you had to get one Fall-themed image tattooed on your body, what would it be? For extra points, where?

An elaborate, full colour Nightmare Before Christmas sleeve on my right arm.

Did you trick-or-treat when you were younger?  What was the last costume you wore? What’s your dream costume, whether you actually got to wear it or not?

I always trick-or-treated!  Wasn’t even a question of whether I would (not even the year it poured rain and my mom had pneumonia and my dad was on a business trip and my uncle took me around our 1,500-person village as I dashed in and out of his pickup truck.)

I can’t remember the last costume I wore (I’m ashamed to even think it was a pretty lackluster goth girl ensemble) but my dream costume is Snow White.  So thankfully I’ve checked that one off the old Halloween bucket list.  I’m 20 in this photo – just a wee lass. 🙂

Snow White

Best treat to get in your trick-or-treat bag?  Worse treat to get?

I think the popular answer will be full size chocolate bars, which were indeed quite lovely.  But not having much of a sweet tooth, I preferred bags of chips, which I’d hand off to my parents so they didn’t get crushed to smithereens by the other goodies in my pillow case (oh yeah, I was a pillow case kid, and I’d FILL that mother!) I really dislike licorice, so I’ll say licorice anything is the worst.

Favourite Fall home fragrance?

This is a terrible thing to admit for someone who dabbles moderately to extensively in wax and fragrance blogging, but I don’t have one.  I actually found out last year via the Fall Fun Series that I really don’t care for any of Fall’s traditional scents, particularly pumpkin, which has an unfortunate tendency to give me nasty headaches.

Best body care fragrance for Fall?

Holy cats, it’s this scrumptious scent, Bath and Body Works’ Salted Caramel Apricot. Mmm, this fragrance is great – fruity and warm and rich without being cloying.  I like it very much, wish it came in wax as well.

Salted Caramel Apricot Basket

Must-have nail polish/perfume/makeup for the Fall?

Leaf of Faith from KB Shimmer – it’s autumn’s leaves and pumpkins and cranberry sauce all wrapped up in one bottle.  One of my favourite nail polishes, no matter the season.

KB Shimmer's Be-Leaf: Cranberry Jelly

Favourite Fall month?

September.  The temperatures are just beginning to cool off, the leaves are just starting to fall and everything looks sort of sparkly.  It’s such a fantastic time of year; I wish we could have year-round autumn.

What’s the weather like where you live?

Weather Collage

Is pumpkin spice worth the hype?

I was pretty ride-or-die for pumpkin spice lattes there for a while, but I’ve lost my taste for them as I’ve gotten older.  They make my teeth feel furry!

Favourite Thanksgiving food?

Gravy.  I’d eat cardboard if it was smothered in delicious pan gravy.

Briefly describe your idea of the perfect Fall day.

Well, to bastardize a line from the movie Miss Congeniality, I’ll say October 3rd, because it’s not too hot, it’s not too cold – you just need a light jacket! 😉

This year the blogs participating in the Fall Fun Series will be posting every Saturday from now until the end of November.  Please join us as we decorate our homes, talk about our favourite scents, venture about on cool outings and plan for Halloween.

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Angela at Angela Kay

Jay at The Candle Enthusiast

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

Michelle at Melting With Michelle

Sandra – me! – at Finger Candy

Tea Time

Tea Time Main

Afternoon high tea is such a deeply civilized and indulgent custom, isn’t it?  I think it’s all those gold-rimmed cups, raised pinkies and tiny, crustless sandwiches.  Or maybe I just love the idea of stopping mid-day to treat yourself, mull over the events of the coming hours, days and weeks from atop a steaming mug of Earl Grey.  I think we’d all be better off – humanity, that is – if we were required to take a one-hour breather every afternoon. Stranger Things’ Chief Hopper may say that mornings are for coffee and contemplation, but I think afternoons are for tea and reflection.  Also crustless cucumber sandwiches with herbed cream cheese, and a couple of those tomato-and-bacon jobbies with the spicy mayo when you get a moment, thank you.

Sitting down with a bracing cuppa, however, is but one way to enjoy the elegant pleasures of tea time.  There’s also plenty of tea-based bath and beauty products, scented waxes and perfumes, as well as a vast assortment of things that just look like they belong on a tiered tray.  Of the latter, I have much!  It really made me realize how much my taste in decorating is rooted in the flouncy tea room aesthetic – so many vintage florals, and everything’s shaped like a petit four.  I also really love it when my bath and beauty items look – and smell! – like wee pastries.  And so what delicious assortment of treats has recently made an appearance on my tea tray of life? 😉

Tea Time Whole Tea Set

Well, for starters, tea time would be no such thing without a proper tea set, of which I somehow had none.  I didn’t even have a teapot, save the deeply unattractive – but wonderfully functional – diffuser pot I use for my day-to-day tea breaks.  I pulled together this beautiful little set from a stunningly gorgeous display of mix-and-match items at Marie Antoinette, a favourite decor shop in my hometown of Ottawa, Ontario.  If you turned me loose in there for just 10 unbidden minutes, I could bankrupt myself and probably everyone else I know.  Is it cheating to say, “I’ll just take the entire store”? Because I would.  Twice!

Tea Time Cups Collage

How wonderful are these sweet little cups with their tiny china spoons?  I’m smitten with the not-quite-matching detailing and the vintage floral design on these pastel pretties.

Tea Time Tea Pot

The nicest surprise of all – because it was actually something I neglected to check while I was in the store – was getting this cute little teapot home and discovering that it houses a convenient built-in diffuser basket. Form and function at its prettiest!

Tea Time Bath Bombs

Another sweet find from Marie Antoinette was this tantalizing trio of mini cupcake-shaped Bath Mallows from UK outfit Bomb Cosmetics in, left to right, Cherry Pie, Lavanille and Little Bo Peep.  These tiny treats are so scrumptious (particularly Little Bo Peep, which smells like cake and candied berries) I had to hold myself back from just snatching up mad handfuls of the delicious little buggers.  Oh, that finances and storage space were of no concern!

Tea Time Wax Scrub Perfume

Speaking of mad, here’s a few items that might show up on the edge of the Hatter’s tub, a playing card-shaped wax tart and tri-layered scrub from The Bathing Garden in Tea Party with Alice, a perplexing blend of strawberries, honeyed tea and clotted cream, and a dainty rollerball perfume from Solstice Scents in Blossom Jam Tea Cakes, a beguiling blend of spring florals, almond tea cakes and sweet icing.  Appropriately enough, I’ve been driven sort of mad by both of these scents, as I really don’t care for either.  Or do I? Nah, I definitely don’t like them.  Or maybe I do?  I’m deeply undecided on both, and it’s really messing with my head.  The Hatter would absolutely approve.

Tea Time Yankee Tarts

None of these wax tarts from Yankee Candle smell like tea, but they remind me of tiny fluted tea cakes nonetheless.  They also look pretty fabulous stacked up so sweetly in that header photo. 🙂

Of these five tarts, Strawberry Lemon Ice is a favourite.  It smells exactly like the strawberry sauce my church would serve atop its annual Strawberry Social shortcake, juicy, sweet and tart.  Cafe Al Fresco is an unexpected favourite – smooth and creamy in a way I think none of us ever expect from Yankee Candle. Honey Lavender Gelato was pretty inoffensive, and you already know my feelings on Pink Sands.  Peeps had no scent whatsoever, unfortunately.  It happens, particularly with Yankee’s lighter scents, and you don’t get lighter than a marshmallow Peep.

Tea Time Tray of Sweets

Finally, we have a couple of cake trays laden with tantalizingly yummy wax treats from The Bathing Garden, including (top tray left to right) Summer Melon & Mint, Guava Berry Gelato, Summer Twilight, Sweet Madi and Happy Un-Birthday and (bottom tray left to right) Bee Smitten, Sweet Madi, Cheshire Cat, Sugared Pie Crust and Mid-Summer Song. Delicious little (non-edible) treats fit for an elegantly refined – and well-earned – tea break.

Queen of Hearts

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So I always thought I was the Queen of Halloween.  I’ve always loved dressing up in costumes, decorating my home and hosting terrible parties (my bad Halloween parties – yes, parties, plural – are legendary in their awkwardness, although I can’t say I loved them.  Nobody did!)  I was married on October 31st, for pity’s sake! But this gorgeous, lush pile of beautiful Valentine’s Day goodies suggests that my affections may lie with the 14th of February, and all its confusing, commercial connotations (riddle me this: Why do we give hand OR Hallmark-written sentiments to loved ones in the name of Saint Valentine, who was blind?  Also a martyr and a political prisoner, but how unsexy is that?)

It also took me next to no time to pull together this collection of items, from cute wax tarts, to the absolutely stunning silk floral wreath my mom and dad gave me in a fit of post-Christmas spoilage.  It, along with all of the other silk flower arrangements dotted about my apartment, lead me to think I may have a heretofore unacknowledged romantic streak!  Also a lot of pink, red and white things, most glittery, and right at hand, no less, living amongst me as decorative items, not just seasonal decorative items.

And so let’s see what sorts of beautiful things I’m loving on in the days leading up to Valentine’s, shall we?  On the left we have, from left to right, a Sex Bomb bath ballistic from Lush, berry-shaped wax melts from Rosegirls in Strawberry Jam, a blossom-shaped wax melt from Vintage Chic Scents in Jackie O (a delicious, creamy vanilla), a pink piped heart from Rosegirls in Cotton Candy Frosting, a gorgeous pair of wax lips (the actual non-edible kind) from The Bathing Garden in The Sweetest Thing, a green-berry kind of scent, and my magnetic, kissing kitties salt and pepper shakers.  I purchased the salt and pepper shakers at the same place my parents bought this gorgeous wreath, a store in my city by the name of Marie Antoinette.  It might be the most beautiful shop I’ve ever been in in my life, packed to the rafters (literally; lush bouquets and other decorative baubles hang from every available surface) with a gorgeous collection of carefully curated items. When I shop there (about once a month, following a delicious donut breakfast with my mom at Suzy Q Donuts across the street) I’m hard pressed not to walk away with the entire store.

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And over on the right we have, from left to right, a Sparkling Red Slippers bubble bar from Lush, a Lover Lamp bath bomb from Lush (it smells like citrus cinnamon hearts), my favourite candle, Voluspa’s French Bourbon Vanille, nestled in a glittery stand from Bath & Body Works, a couple of loved-up iced sugar cookies from A Couple of Squares (shoutout to London, Ontario now), a neat stack of soap rosebuds, another faux floral arrangement, and finally, a wee ceramic gateau, hinged to conceal a small space for hiding tiny treasures, another darling find from Marie Antoinette.  I’m in love with it all!

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